When grocery shopping, few people give consideration to where the food they are putting in their shopping baskets comes from. As a result, humans have become incredibly disconnected from the natural world and are largely ignorant about the ethical and environmental implications of eating animals. However, according to Richard Branson — the founder of Virgin and an investor in plant-based start-ups, this will soon change.
In August of this year, Branson wrote a blog post about his investment in Memphis Meats. He expressed his vision about the future of food, writing: “I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone. One day we will look back and think how archaic our grandparents were in killing animals for food.”
Along with Bill Gates, Kimball Musk, and several other influential thinkers, Branson has invested in a cruelty-free, sustainable food system. Each leader came to their own conclusions about the investment in different ways. However, each agrees that change is needed, as eating animals is unsustainable and, to an extent, unhealthy. As Futurism reports, “Their bottom line is that it’s time to support companies using technology to satisfy human culinary cravings without killing animals, thereby saving the environment in the process.”
Branson doesn’t just “talk the talk.” In 2014, the entrepreneur gave up meat. Now, he’s investing in start-ups that align with his beliefs and predictions about the future. At the same time, he regularly participates in campaigns which seek to raise awareness about climate change, the conservation of wildlife and the effects of deforestation caused by agribusiness.
There is a definitive need for the majority of the populace to adopt plant-based eating habits. Worldwide, we grow enough food to feed 10 billion people. However, much of the grain and legumes which are cultivated are fed to livestock, whose farts account for a large percent of methane which fuels climate change. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), livestock feed production consumes 26 percent of Earth’s ice-free land. At the same time, 13 billion hectares (32.1 billion acres) of forest are destroyed for use as croplands or pastures each year. And, 51 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to the WorldWatch Institute.
The time to adopt sustainable eating habits is now. Scientists who recognize this have already begun “growing” meat alternatives in labs and businessmen like Bill Gates are investing in startups such as Impossible Foods, which has developed a hearty, plant-based burger that “bleeds.” A greener, cleaner future is right around the corner. Will you help create it?